COSATU statement on the latest GDP numbers

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the report that shows that South Africa’s economy, as measured by the GDP has shrunk by 0,6% during the third quarter of the year. The gross domestic product (GDP) which is a measure of economic performance and an annual measurement of the value of the production of goods and services in the country reminds us of the ernomity of our crisis. Unfortunately, beyond these figures is a reality that sees more people sliding into poverty in this country.

We are not going to fix this crisis when the South African government is continuing to adopt regressive and contractionary policies that only focus on cutting social expenditure and weakening the capacity of the state. Government’s outright reduction of spending in an environment of depressed private sector investment and household spending will only serve to worsen things.

 The power utility Eskom needs to be fixed and fast and the SOEs cannot continue to be a burden on the state indefinitely.  

This situation also calls for strong and decisive leadership at a political level.  South Africa cannot industrialise and transform the economy if it maintains the colonial economy of exporting raw goods on the basis of cheap labour.

We reiterate our position that fixing what is wrong with the South African economy will require a collective effort from all social partners and bold and decisive leadership from the government.

As COSATU, we are ready to work with other stakeholders to engage and explore bold solutions that will help this country chart a new developmental path. The key to finding a solution is for everyone to leave their ideological bunkers and collectively participate to a process of finding a uniquely South African developmental path that will both comprehend and address the legacy of our past, while embracing the future.   

We need an economic developmental model that will dismantle the current colonial and apartheid economic and social policy paradigm and that is unsustainable. We need an economic trajectory that will ensure that there is a proper redistribution of income and that more people are allowed to participate in the economy

COSATU reiterates its demands for the urgent implementation by government and the private sector of their Jobs and Investment Summits commitments. The Public Procurement Bill needs to be fastracked and government needs to ensure that companies that are granted spectrum have job creation targets and that workers have a stake in the spectrum 

We commend the conclusion of the Department of Trade and Industry’s sectoral master plans in areas such as poultry and clothing and textile leather. However, the successes of these master plans will depend on local procurement.  The government must enforce local procurement in both the public and private sectors. National Treasury and the Reserve Bank needs to stop billions from being illicitly taken out of the country. We demand consequences from the implicated companies and individuals.

This economic stagnation and persistent high unemployment is an indication of the failure of leadership and policymaking and it is a recipe for social unrest as shown by the recent attacks on foreigners.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794